This G5 is still too slow for the money

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by jrapczak, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. jrapczak macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2003
    Santa Monica, CA
    I'm sorry guys, I love a lot of things about this G5 but it's just too slow for the money. I was having some speed issues awhile back with software that was arguably not optimized for OS X and the G5, but recently I started using Shake 3 on the Mac and it's SO SLOW compared to Shake 2.5 on a slower-clocked PC. This is Apple's own software, guys.

    So here's what I have:

    G5 1.8
    2.5 GB RAM
    GeForceFX 5200

    I'm not sure what the RAM upgrades cost, but the overall system cost is probably close to $3000.

    Bottom line? This thing may be faster in the future, maybe even by the end of 2004. But right now it doesn't even beat out a slower-clocked Athlon with less RAM in most real-world applications that we use for film post. There are no good video cards for this platform for 3D work.
    (NOTE: The Radeon 9800 Pro is NOT a good video card for 3D work - aside from the fact that it adds even MORE cost to the system, this is a consumer-level graphics board that lacks many features and stability enhancements of its workstation-class implementation, the FireGL X2. I am speaking from personal experience, not marketing hype.)

    No one in their right mind would buy a G5 right now in my industry, especially when you can get a much-faster Dual Xeon 2.8 with 2 GB RAM and a workstation-class graphics board for around $2,000, which is what we've just purchased to replace this G5 I'm returning to the Apple store on Wednesday.

    Maybe it will be faster next year...
  2. Lancetx macrumors 68000


    Aug 11, 2003
    Re: This G5 is still too slow for the money

    Just was wondering where you can get a Dual processor Xeon 2.8 system with 2GB RAM and a good workstation graphics card for $2,000 at? I haven't seen them anywhere near that price from a major manufacturer anyway.


    I just went and priced a Dell Precision 450 workstation with dual 2.8s and only 1GB of RAM and it totaled out to over $2,900...
  3. jrapczak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2003
    Santa Monica, CA
    Ok, to be fair you have to buy the parts yourself to put it together. This consists of a motherboard\pc\ram bundle that comes already set up with fans, heatsinks and everything and you just plop it in to a case. Comes with a warranty:

    Dual Xeon motherboard bundles with integrated Audio, USB 2.0, Firewire, Serial ATA and Gigabit ethernet:

    Now you are free to buy a video card of your choosing. A good example is the FireGL T2 128 (based on the Radeon 9600 chipset) available, for example, here:

    All that's left to buy is a case and an optical drive, and you can have a nice workstation for under $2000. The only thing you are sacrificing is having all parts warrantied from a single manufacturer. However, the critical parts (mobo, processor, RAM) all come as a bundle from the same place already assembled and are under the same warranty.

    I understand that this probably doesn't work for everyone, but maybe I would feel different about this whole situation if I could assemble my own G5 system from parts I buy myself. But this is totally against everything Apple.

    BTW, that Dell Precision 2.8 with 1GB ram is still cheaper than a dual G5 that, at this point in its life-cycle (as I have already said) does not perform as well in most of our real-world tests. Sure, we could buy for the future... betting that Apple's G5 will one day come out on top. But that's not really how this industry works.
  4. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    g5's are not using full 64 bit os yet nor apps. when panther hits and apps optimize for g5 everything will be in the rear view mirror.
  5. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    And how long does this really take? Let's not forget installing the OS onto the hard drive, etc, etc.

    For the labor cost, let's assume $100/hour, to make sure that we get a fully burdened generic Corporate cost.

    And if it requires the Purchasing department to make multiple awards, that's another few hundred bucks in hidden costs to account for there.

  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If a single piece of software is critical to your workflow and the render speed is quite important TODAY, then by all means don't use the Mac if it puts a crimp in the workflow.

    Sometimes the headaches of dealing with MS's problems are easier than dealing with a complaining employee.
  7. jrapczak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2003
    Santa Monica, CA
    No it won't. Few applications are going to be optimized for 64 bit, and it's not a 64-bit OS anyway. Sure, the G5 may be fast, but you can't speak for software vendors and whether or not they will take full advantage of it. It won't be a priority to them unless they're going to make a lot of money doing it, and they're not going to make money unless there's a considerable user-base to make money from. There won't be a considerable user base until the applications actually RUN faster on a G5.

    It's a vicious circle.

    The whole industry isn't going to switch from Linux and NT on PCs to a slower-performing system to encourage software companies to take full advantage of the G5.

    So again, the G5 is great, but no matter how advanced it is it doesn't mean ANYTHING unless the software runs quickly on it. And while the software is catching up to the new architecture of the G5, do you think that AMD and Intel are going to sit around twiddling their thumbs?

    There's too much uncertainty. The film industry will always go with what gives them the most power for the least money and development\integration cost at the time it is needed. Only the big studios will make investments into developing on new platforms, but they're not going to change their entire pipeline overnight.
  8. Laslo Panaflex macrumors 65816

    Laslo Panaflex

    May 1, 2003
    I cannot vouch for the speed of a single 1.8 G5, but as for my dual 2 gig, it is by far the fastest computer I have ever used.
    I think that if you are going to use shake you will need at least the dualie to get decent performance. All I can say is that you are disatisfied, try to sell that one and upgrade to a daulie, I bet you will see a huge dfference.

    Just this weekend I exported my first FCP project with this machine. It was a 12 minute sequence that consisted of 120 scanned pictures in crosfading and zooming in and out (kind of like ken burns effect). I exported it through compressor and did a fast Mpeg2 encode. It took only 15 minutes to encode to MPeg 2 the 12 minute sequence. Needless to say I am pretty floored with the performance of this baby, and its stock with 512 megs of ram.

    So this might not be much help, but if you want a faster mac, go with the dual.
  9. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    the dual G5 is the only one truly competitive with high end PCs right now. Perhaps that will change in the next revision, but I'm not surprised to hear that a SP G5 is slower than a dual xeon.
  10. jrapczak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2003
    Santa Monica, CA
    Guys, it's not a single piece of software, it's several pieces of software including:

    Alias Maya
    mental images mental ray
    Apple Shake
    Discreet Combustion

    This is basically the entire pipeline!

    Secondly, this has nothing to do with MS. WinXP is a horrible operating system and has too many problems with memory management. For this reason, our render farm and several workstations are Linux. The only time we use WinXP is for software that doesn't run on Linux. Please don't turn this into an Apple vs. Microsoft thread because it isn't. it's about Apple Hardware vs. Intel and AMD hardware, and the software that runs on it.
    Assembling workstations takes a few hours for the first one and then the rest are created with a disk image because it is assumed you're buying multiple identical parts at the same time if you're buying more than one. So really it can take a few hours total per workstation to assemble and test. But this is what we have technical officers for. We're paying them anyway, so they might as well be doing something useful when the network is running smoothly :)
  11. acj macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2003
    Interesting. I have a speed comparison, sorta. But what res were your photos? I did the same thing in premiere on a 2.4 GHz P4 with 512 ram. It took about 2 hours for just 24 minutes of mpeg2 exported, but many of my pictures were 55 megs, and there were often 3 images visable zooming and panning at once, plus a little video. It went very slow when there were 3 full res photos, but when it was only two at lower res, it was almost real time, even on a single slower CPU.
  12. jrapczak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2003
    Santa Monica, CA
    Somehow this got lost in all of this mess, but the original speed comparison was between a SINGLE 1.8 G5 and a SINGLE 2000+ (really 1.6) Athlon.
  13. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    For some it may indeed come down to 1 piece of software in the workflow, that may mean PC hardware or even a Windows PC -- gasp.

    When time is money, use whatever OS and H/W you company feels will improve the profit margin the most.

    The Mac is a good machine, but not the best solution for everyone.
  14. mmathis macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2003
    I'm a student filmmaker, and I don't use shake for anything yet, but I use FCP a lot, and I can tell you one thing: my dual 2.0 G5 is by far, faster than any other computer I've ever used for rendering and exporting video. I just got it yesterday, and I'm blown away. I can't imagine using anything else right now. As has been said before, there are different solutions for different people. It's perfectly understandable to me that a G5 wouldn't be the premier choice for everyone out there. There's no way that it could run everything faster than everyone else. But count me in as one truly satisfied G5 owner =)
  15. Laslo Panaflex macrumors 65816

    Laslo Panaflex

    May 1, 2003
    Oh no, my pictures were not anywhere near the res that you are talking about, they were scanned at 300 dpi and were on the average of 5-6 megs a piece, no where near 55 megs. Really, there is no need to go that high unless you are zooming in real close. In my case it was not that crucial to zoom in.

    I will do a test with some higher res pics and let you know.
  16. Flowbee macrumors 68030


    Dec 27, 2002
    Alameda, CA
    So this is basically another "I-can-build-a-fast-PC-cheaper-than-I-can-buy-a-Mac" thread? Fascinating.
  17. mmmdreg macrumors 65816


    Apr 14, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Leave him alone already. If he thinks a PC is best, let him be. It's like I did work experience at an advertising agency. Nearly the whole place used Macs ranging from revb iMacs to dual G5's. The only things that were PC were the server, the computer on the printer and the chief accounting guy's computer. Why? Because either the software wouldn't run on Macs, or the PC was just better suited to the tasks. If people can't see two views on any matter, then they're just being ignorant. And don't try accusing me of being a Mac-basher either hunnibuns. I'm on a Mac now and loving it :p
  18. Schiffi macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2003
    Yeah, building your own PC is extremely cheaper initially. However, having to devote every Saturday to do maintenance was terrible. I do like Premiere over FCE but due to stability in OSX, I went towards FCE and I'm adjusting. I like Premiere for the fact that I can multitask while rendering, something not attainable in FCE (though I can export DV quickly then encode in QT and still multitask pretty easily).

    I hope you bought your RAM from crucial or another 3rd party vendor. Apple's prices are atrocious. With 512MB of RAM it costs about $2400 so you prolly did buy elsewhere. Oh well, different strokes for different folks.
  19. yamabushi macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2003

    While I am impressed with the dual G5, I can understand the desire for even more power. Apple should provide kit build tower Macs for the budget conscious. IBM should provide higher clock speeds ASAP to meet the most demanding of requirements such as rendering and encoding. Apple should also add a max speed mode in OSX that removes most of the GUI (somehing along the lines of dosshell in appearance) and other services such as networking for a bit of extra power, then a fast reboot to the full OS. I am sure that OS experts could find an even better way to do something like this. There will always be task specific computers that can do something faster, but Apple could find creative ways to close the gap.
  20. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000


    May 18, 2003
    I'm a recent switcher, and I love my G5. Only problem w/ macs is there is too big of a jump between the "consumer" and
    "pro" lines. Honestly, I'd never get anything from the consumer lines since they just aren't competitive enough... and completely non-upgradeable... now the G5s are nice... :)
  21. Mlobo01 macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2003
    Weehawken New Jersey
    Ill give you $1500 for it...

    Ill help you get rid of it.
  22. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    For what jrapczak needs Macs typically aren't the better choice right now. It looks like they mainly do 3D and compositing work over at his shop and that is the weak link in Apple's assault on the creative field. As he said there is not a pro level 3D out there for the Mac, and even the current version of the dual gig G5 doesn't provide the real world muslce needed for some of these tasks. That's one reason why Avid hasn't made a Mac version of it's DS series editing workstations. The DS are an editing/compositing hybred machine and currently no Mac meets Avid's standards. Now of course everyone is asking Avid about a DS runing on a G5 but they are being tight lipped. I wouldn't be surpised though to see something at NAB '04. They will probably give the G5's another revision, and, assuming something is shown at NAB, it will probably be 6 months or so before products are actually for sale and that will mean at least one more G5 rev.

    So, long story short the current G5 has brought the Mac closer to parity with Intel/AMD based machines, but there is still a long way to go. And assuming the roadmap Jobs has mentioned works out the next year is going to be an awesome one for Mac hardware.

  23. jrapczak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2003
    Santa Monica, CA
    Okay, final question because I'm still not seeing some of this speed everyone is talking about:

    Last night I did a test encoding MPEG-2 video through compressor. I was optimistic because someone in this thread had indicated that it had taken 15 minutes to encode 12 minutes of MPEG-2 out of Final Cut Pro on a dual 2.0, so I figured my single 1.8 wouldn't take longer than 30 minutes (assuming dual procs doesn't quite mean twice as much speed).

    My encoding took 1 hour and 21 minutes on 15 minutes of DV footage. So finally I ask, is something wrong with my Mac? I am HONESTLY NOT SEEING ANY SPEED GAINS. This encoding speed is on par with the 2000+ Athlon using TMPGEnc. I can honestly say that I expected the G5 to come out with a commanding lead in this test, but it hasn't! What's the deal?
  24. mico macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2003
    I don't seem to understand your reasoning in using the mac if you can cheaply build a faster pc with the graphics card you know to be essential. You seem to know what you're talking about and I'm sure before you bought the mac you (or your company) checked the graphics card and realized it wasn't up to the level you needed. If the 9800 pro wasn't good enough and the Xeon faster why even consider buying the 1.8. And if you just wanted to use the mac platform why didn't you buy the fastest G5 if speed was so important. And if money was an issue with the Dual G5 why didn't you just build your $2000 pc in the first place and save yourself all this headache since you knew that you could have gotten a much faster Xeon 2.8 and the pro graphics card you needed for around - again - the cheaper price of $2000. There are several independent benchmark tests around that could have informed you on the speed of these machine.

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